Ricky Swallow (b. 1974, San Remo, Australia) uses ordinary materials to create precisely rendered objects that he then casts in bronze. The unique works that result are expressions not only of the objects’ constructed forms, but also of the process of transformation by which an inert grouping of things becomes a sculpture. Swallow is invested in equal measure in the making of things and the testing of concepts; in hands-on work with cardboard, tape, and glue and the mediated potentials of the foundry; in the immediacy of craft and the austere elegance of geometric abstraction. He elicits a questioning state of mind by establishing geometries and juxtapositions that just manage to exceed what the eye perceives as possible. Like mysterious, hieroglyphic numbers or letters translated into three dimensions, his works are as indelible as they are evocative.
Ricky Swallow has been the subject of solo and two-person exhibitions at the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, California (with Lesley Vance, 2011); Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin (2007); Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna (2007); MoMA PS1, Long Island City, New York (2006); and the Australian Pavilion, 51st Venice Biennale, Italy (2005). He has been included in a number of group exhibitions including In Quest of Beauty: Assemblage in the Ahmanson Collection, Ahmanson Gallery, Irvine, California (2019); L'esprit du Bauhaus, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris (2017); Whitney Biennial 2014, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and Made in L.A. 2014, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. Swallow’s work is in the permanent collections of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; Museum of Modern Art, New York; and Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, California, among other museums. Swallow has curated two exhibitions at David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles: Grapevine (2013), a forty-year survey of artists in California who have all worked in clay, and Weed Pots (2020), a solo exhibition of ceramic vessels by Doyle Lane. Swallow lives and works in Los Angeles.